RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale This Week — in 1984!

Scott and Dan hit up the comics racks from 39 years ago…

This week for RETRO HOT PICKS, Scott Tipton and I are selecting comics that came out the week of Nov. 1, 1984.

Last time for RETRO HOT PICKS, it was the week of Oct. 25, 1962. Click here to check it out.

(Keep in mind that comics came out on multiple days, so these are technically the comics that went on sale between Oct. 29 and Nov. 4.)

So, let’s set the scene: In the final stretch of the 1984 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan was cruising toward a landslide re-election over Democrat Walter Mondale and his running mate, Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman nominated to a major party ticket. Reagan would ultimately take 49 states, with Mondale only holding his home state of Minnesota and Washington, D.C. It was, in every sense of the term, a wipeout.

The country was also fascinated by the case of Stephanie Fae Beauclair — also known as “Baby Fae” — who in late October received a baboon heart transplant. She lived another 21 days.

On Oct. 31, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star, an Indian Armed Forces operation in June to remove militant Sikh separatists from the buildings of the Golden Temple, the holiest site of Sikhism. Her son Rajiv Gandhi took office following her death. After the assassination, thousands of Sikhs were massacred in retaliation; national death tolls vary widely, ranging from 8,000 to 17,000, depending on the source.

The top-grossing film in America was the just-released sleeper hit The Terminator, starring Ahnuld. (Orion Pictures didn’t think the movie would do well. They were wrong.) Other flicks in theaters included the Talking Heads concert movie Stop Making Sense; Paul McCartney’s strange project Give My Regards to Broad Street; Wim Wenders’ Paris, Texas, starring Harry Dean Stanton; and the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. Opening was one of the year’s most critically acclaimed films, The Killing Fields.

If you were visiting the multiplex, you probably saw this poster for A Nightmare on Elm Street, which was to be released Nov. 9.

Dallas, Dynasty and 60 Minutes were the Nielsen leaders. There were plenty of new shows on the fall schedule that had staying power, though, including the trend-setting Miami Vice;  Murder, She Wrote; Who’s the Boss?; Charles in Charge; Highway to Heaven; Hunter; V; and, Punky Brewster.

Billy Ocean’s Caribbean Queen led the Billboard 100, which was chock full of very ’80s hits, including Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You (No. 2); Chicago’s Hard Habit to Break (No. 4); Wham!’s star-making Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (No. 5); Madonna’s Lucky Star (No. 6); and David Bowie’s Blue Jean (No. 8).

Prince and the Revolution’s timeless and magnificent Purple Rain was at No. 3, however, and the same-named soundtrack album was at No. 1. The Purple One launched a tour Nov. 4, with seven shows in Detroit. (The movie Purple Rain had come out over the summer.)

I only wanted to see you laughing, in the purple rain…

Scott Tipton, contributor-at-large, 13th Dimension

Superman: The Secret Years #1, DC. Talk about poor timing. This series made its debut just weeks before Crisis on Infinite Earths began, so everyone kinda knew that whatever secrets were to be revealed were about to not matter very much. I recall this miniseries being mostly noticed for its Frank Miller covers.

Jonni Thunder #1, DC. Another ’80s Roy Thomas DC concept that wound up going nowhere. This one also suffered from being released around the same time as Crisis, and generally getting overlooked. Too bad, as it was a fun idea, reconceptualizing Golden Age B-Lister Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt as a female hard-boiled detective.

The Amazing Spider-Man #261, Marvel. The whole “Who is the Hobgoblin?” storyline was a big deal around this time, but I remember being really impressed with this cover.

The New Teen Titans #5, DC. Maybe I’m in the minority, but the one element of the Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans that I always got bored with was whenever there was a big Trigon storyline. Just did nothing for me.

Dan adds: I get it. The first one, which was central to the launch of the original 1980 series, was terrific. But when they went back to the well for the 1984 Baxter-paper relaunch, there just wasn’t enough that was new and fresh.

Micronauts #5, Marvel. I can’t decide what was more off-putting about this period of Micronauts: Acroyear running around without his helmet or Commander Rann’s enormous Grizzly Adams beard.

Dan Greenfield, editor, 13th Dimension

The Fury of Firestorm #32, DC. “Just When You Thought You’d Seen It All” indeed. I don’t think I would have predicted a Firestorm/Phantom Stranger team-up.

Ms. Tree #13, Aardvark-Vanaheim. Requisite reminder that comics in the ’80s were so much more than the Big Two. The indie explosion completely remade the landscape and Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty’s Ms. Tree was a big part of it.

Love and Rockets #10, Fantagraphics. What I just said, except with the Hernandez brothers.

Vigilante #14, DC. Rad negative-space cover by Trevor Von Eeden.


— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Oct. 25 — in 1962! Click here.

— RETRO HOT PICKS! On Sale The Week of Oct. 18 — in 1987! Click here.

Primary comics sources: Mike’s Amazing World of Comics, the Grand Comics Database.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. I think you intended to post the cover for Micronauts Vol. 2 No. 5. Not Vol. 1 No. 5, which was actually pretty good…and which was most definitely not released in November 1984.

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  2. I feel Trevor Von Eeden needs a best of Graphic Novel, with a cover gallery, always love his body of work!

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    • I remember loving the first 2 issues of the New Teen Titans series because Perez inked them. Geez can’t believe Miami Vice is almost 40 years old.

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      • I agree. I loved the second Trigon storyline, but it was probably due to the art. Perez inking himself on those first two issues was gorgeous and on the baxter paper it just felt special. New and unique it really wasn’t, but I still find it enjoyable. It was also Perez’s last hurrah on Titans for a long time, so that also added to it seeming like a big deal.

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